'Nobody’s going to tell me that I have to': Anti-masker claims Sask.'s new mask rule clashes with Charter rights
SASKATOON -- Mark Friesen said he won’t be wearing a mask on Friday when mandatory masking comes into effect in Saskatchewan.
"I’m absolutely against it. Any time the government mandates something, there has to be a level of informed consent,” Friesen told CTV News.
Under the updated public health order, masks must be worn in all indoor public spaces in Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert.
Friesen believes making people wear something goes against Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
“I am telling you right now, I am not going to wear a mask. Nobody’s going to tell me that I have to wear a mask,” Friesen said.
“I’m not wearing a mask — I don’t think it’s healthy for me.”
Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said wearing a mask can have a significant impact in reducing COVID-19 transmission.
A study from researchers at the University of Illinois suggests that most homemade face coverings do a good job of preventing the spread of respiratory droplets involved in the transmission of COVID-19 — which has killed more than 10,000 people in Canada.
On Tuesday when Shahab was asked about how the mask policy will be enforced, he said, “I think we need to think of each other at this time.”
Shahab said it’s important people show compassion to each other by wearing a mask — especially those working in a business who interact with multiple people throughout the day.
“There’s a time to make a point, which we can do out in the open … I think we owe it to each other to protect each other because if I develop COVID symptoms tomorrow, I may be infectious today.”
Nurses' union wants masks province-wide
The Saskatchewan Union of Nurses (SUN) has been pushing for mandatory masking since July.
“It’s a very important tool in our tool box. Would we have like to see this come sooner? Definitely. But we’re very happy that it’s here now,” SUN president Tracy Zambory said.
Zambory said she hopes the new rule will stretch beyond the province’s three largest cities.
“We’re calling on the premier and Dr. Shahab to consider having it province-wide,” Zambory told CTV News over Skype.
The new mask rule will be in effect for 28 days.
After that period, health officials will reassess Saskatchewan’s COVID-19 situation to decide whether to ease off or expand mandatory masking to other jurisdictions.